Avenue A, i-Frontier Win Alaska Airlines Work

NEW YORK Alaska Airlines said it has tapped Avenue A and its sibling i-Frontier to handle online media planning and buying and creative chores, respectively.

The selection was made after the aQuantive-owned interactive shops ran test campaigns for the carrier earlier this year. Those efforts consisted of banners and rich-media ads, which appeared on properties such as Weather.com, NYTimes.com and Yahoo! One ad, for instance, asked, “What’s better than cutting in line?” to play up the airline’s “24-hour Web check-in” at AlaskaAir.com. The answer: “No line at all.”

“Alaska Airlines has conducted several initial campaigns with Avenue A in recent months, and the results delivered have exceeded even our expectations,” said Steve Jarvis, staff vp of e-commerce and distribution at the Seattle-based client. No further details were given on the campaign results.

Seattle-based Avenue A and Philadelphia-based i-Frontier will provide Alaska Airlines with interactive services, including strategy, consulting, media buying and planning, creative development and analytics.

“We identified travel as a key segment for us,” said Clark Kokich, president of Avenue A, which also works with clients that include AstraZeneca, Best Buy and L’Oreal. “We’ve been targeting airlines for the past year.” Billings were not disclosed.

The airline this fall broke an estimated $10 million offline campaign from Wong Doody in Seattle that takes aim at no-frills, budget competitors. Radio and TV ads direct people to a Web site for an imaginary discount carrier, SkyHigh Airlines. The bogus site, www.skyhighairlines.com, features “super scrimper fares” and slogans such as, “Flying is expensive. Let us cheapen the experience.”